Advanced acquires Compass Computer Consultants

Advanced Computer Software Group plc (Advanced), provider of healthcare, business management and learning management software and services, has acquired Compass Computer Consultants Limited (Compass), one of the UK’s market leading education software providers, for a net £14.5m. BCMS advised the shareholders of Compass on the transaction, which completed in 2014.

“The BCMS approach helped us tweak the business and make it more saleable, which had a beneficial impact” – Mike Davies, Compass Computer Consultants

Compass, based in Cheshire, provides fully integrated record management and customer relationship (CRM) systems which are used by more than 80% of UK colleges and the Learning and Skills Council.

Compass will be integrated into Advanced’s Business Solutions division, where it will complement existing education software solutions for local authorities, schools, academies and higher and further education providers.

Deal commentary

Vin Murria, CEO, Advanced Computer Software Group said: “This is an important acquisition for Advanced because it further expands our presence within the education software sector across the UK and Ireland. Compass has an impressive range of solutions which complement our existing education sector offering. Since the launch of its first college-based software solution, ProAchieve, in 1999, Compass has earned a reputation for providing a wide range of intuitive, high quality, user-focused solutions to meet the challenges faced by further education providers.”

Mike Davies, founder of Compass Computer Consultants, commented on BCMS’ role in the transaction. “The BCMS approach helped us tweak the business and make it more saleable, which had a beneficial impact on how much we got, who we sold to, and the conditions attached to the sale.”

“Having sold the company now, I realise what it takes to sell a business, but at the beginning of the journey I didn’t have a clue. BCMS had seen and done it all before, so they were able to impart a lot of knowledge to us which was invaluable. Because of BCMS’ input, we were able to re-structure the business right at the very beginning.

“In the meetings [with buyers], our Lead Advisor kept everything calm, he added a consistent structure to the interactions we had with buyers. Anytime there was any hint of valuation or negotiation on price, BCMS would step in. It was great to have someone acting as a mediator. We never felt on the back foot.”